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Monrovia Thrift Store Having 55%-Off Sale

Monrovia's Giving Hands Thrift Store, 925 W. Foothill, is having a 55%-off sale, 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. now through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

- Brad Haugaard

Story of Monrovia Family and Online Preschool

KPCC story about Monrovia parents whose child attends an online preschool. http://goo.gl/ys2b2k

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Restaurant Round-Up - Free Pizza!

The latest restaurant news:

~ Blaze Pizza - in the Pavilions shopping center - will open this Saturday, July 26, and if you follow the company on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you can get a free pizza from 11 a.m. to midnight that day. http://goo.gl/JlXTLw

~ Gem City Images reports that a new restaurant plans to open in the old Allure shop on Myrtle. http://goo.gl/mnfqRt

~ And finally, I reported on a new restaurant, called Le Gourmand, going in on Myrtle next to Sena. http://goo.gl/1y5Ofx

- Brad Haugaard

Trader Joe's Recalls Fruit

Monrovia-based Trader Joe's recalls some peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots. http://goo.gl/RS4Jcb

- Brad Haugaard

New Restaurant Coming to Monrovia - Le Gourmand

It appears a new restaurant will be going in right next to Sena restaurant, on its north side, at 407 S. Myrtle. The city's Development Review Committee (DRC) will be looking at the restaurant's proposed plans for outdoor seating at its July 23 meeting. No details on the restaurant in the agenda ( http://goo.gl/Zy6SDi ), but the applicant is Mark Houston, and there is a Mark and Jonnie Houston who operate several LA area restaurants, and of whom LA Weekly says, "the Houston brothers have been redefining L.A. nightlife" ( http://goo.gl/1LKAjn ). Here is Houston Hospitality's website ( http://goo.gl/tRZaVL ). Again, I'm not sure it's the same Mark Houston, but I'll try to check.

UPDATE: Thanks to Planning Division Manager, Craig Jimenez, who writes:

DRC is reviewing an outdoor seating permit for a new business named Le Gourmand. I haven’t seen a menu, but from what I understand, it will be an upscale cafĂ© and bakery that will also have a small retail component selling prepackaged foods.

The applicant, Mark Houston, is a Monrovia-based designer and contractor who is designing the interior.

- Brad Haugaard

Mountain Lion in Hills Above Monrovia

Photo of mountain lion near Camp Trask, above Monrovia.

Boy Scout dad, Mark D. Peters, writes about encountering a mountain lion near the Scouts' Camp Trask, in the hills right above Monrovia:

While Troop 551 went out for a hike and to work on their Leave No Trace award, they had a pair of eyes watching them, and when hiking back to camp, they came across large drag marks that crossed the road.

Over the edge 551 Troop leaders could see a freshly killed doe. Cub Master Terry Lopez alerted the Camp Master and Scout Master Bill Durini, Webelos Den Leader Erick Bonilla and Asst. Cub Master Mark Peters gathered up the Troop in a tight group and hiked back to camp.

Later I was able to get the shot and show it to the kids as not many of them have ever seen a mountain lion in the wild.

Cub Master Terry Lopez added that, "Unfortunately we had to stay in camp after discovering the Mountain Lion attack, no Saturday night hike, but we saw several fox around our camp...kept us occupied."
Cub Scout Degas Peters, Mark Peter's son.

Monrovia Police: Transient Charged With Theft; Burglary; Vandalism; Etc.

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for July 17-20. - Brad Haugaard]

Following are the weekend’s highlighted issues and events.

Commercial Burglary / Violation of Restraining Order – Suspect Arrested
On July 17 at 11:39 a.m., an officer responded to a business in the 100 block of West Foothill regarding a theft of items. The suspect fled the location prior to his arrival. Security officers observed the suspect sneak behind the stone pillars to the front of the store. The suspect was trying to covertly enter the location without being seen by employees. Once inside the store, a security officer witnessed the suspect grab several items and run out. Upon reviewing the surveillance video, the suspect was identified as one of our local transients that just served time in jail for committing thefts at the same location and served with a restraining order. The officer searched the area and located the suspect. The suspect was arrested for burglary and violation of restraining order.

Petty Theft With Prior – Suspect Identified
On July 17 at 12:20 p.m., an officer responded to the 700 block of South Myrtle regarding a bicycle theft. While the officer was reviewing the security video, he identified the suspect. The suspect was arrested prior to this investigation for another unrelated burglary. The suspect is currently in custody at the Los Angeles County Jail. The suspect has prior thefts and will be charged with petty theft with a prior for the bicycle theft.

Commercial Petty Theft
On July 17 at 3:06 p.m., dispatch received a call from a business in the 500 block of West Huntington reporting a security officer was chasing a male suspect that had possibly stolen some jewelry. The suspect ran east from the location to the rear alley of another business. He got into an awaiting black Lincoln Navigator. There was a second suspect in the driver's seat. The suspect vehicle drove away. The investigation is continuing.

Vandalism
On July 17 at 7:11 p.m., an officer responded to the 600 block of Monterey regarding a vandalism report. The victim stated that he parked his vehicle at 11:00 p.m. and upon his return the following morning saw damage to the hood, the left side of the vehicle, and to the windshield. The vehicle's alarm was set but did not activate during the night. The investigation is continuing.

Burglary / Identity Theft / Forgery / Conspiracy / Possession of a Controlled  Substance / Possession of Drug Paraphernalia – Suspects Arrested
On July 17 at 11:13 p.m., officers were dispatched to the 500 Block of West Huntington regarding a fraud report. The suspect was described as female, white in her late 20s to early 30s, with a black sundress, carrying a large beige purse, and having large tattoos on her back and arms. The female completed a transaction and headed to the exit door. She dropped the items she had "purchased" and walked toward a red truck. The red truck left without picking up the suspect. The truck was stopped by another officer while the suspect headed north through the lot and ran across Huntington Drive where she was detained. The suspect was in possession of fraudulent identification cards and matching Department of Motor Vehicle temporary driver licenses. She was also in possession of methamphetamine and two crack pipes. The suspect was arrested and her two female companions in the truck were also arrested on similar charges.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol / Traffic Collision – Suspect Arrested
On July 18 at 2:45 a.m. dispatch received a call from the 800 block of West Foothill reporting a white Honda Civic that had just hit their parked car. Officers responded and contacted the female driver who exhibited signs of intoxication. Field sobriety tests were conducted and it was determined the female driver was driving under the influence of alcohol and was arrested.

Vehicle Petty Theft
On July 18 at 6:09 p.m., officers responded to the 200 block of South Violet regarding a theft that just occurred. The victim is a contractor and was doing work at the location. The victim went outside the residence and observed a truck park south of his location. The two male occupants exited their vehicle and stood next to the vehicle. The victim went inside to continue working when a witness informed him someone was taking his equipment. As he went outside, he saw one of the suspects that had exited the truck taking his compressor. The suspect vehicle is a black Ford Ranger. The investigation is continuing.

Residential Burglary
On July 19 at 7:25 a.m., an officer was patrolling the 100 block of James Town when he observed a garage door open with no vehicles in the area. Further investigation revealed the power on the house had been turned off and the inside was ransacked with open drawers and jewelry on the ground. The owner of the residence was contacted and responded home for the investigation.

Dedication for Monrovia's Julian D. Fisher Park Playground

Julian Fisher Park, located at the corner of Almond and California Avenues in Monrovia, is set to unveil a brand new playground.  Please join the Monrovia City Council on Saturday, August 2 at 10:00 a.m. for the Grand Opening of the Julian Fisher Park playground.

Julian Fisher, one of seven Monrovia parks, is named after Julian D. Fisher, Monrovia’s first African-American police officer.  The 1.8 acre park features a gazebo, basketball courts, and a large play area.  However, in 2011, the aging and vandalized playground equipment was removed from the park.

In 2013, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich awarded a $250,000 grant to the City of Monrovia to replace the playground equipment as part of the Safe Neighborhoods Parks Propositions of 1992 and 1996, commonly referred to as Proposition A/Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District.

In a joint effort, the Monrovia City Council, Monrovia Community Services Commission and members of the Fisher family have been collaborating on ideas for the new playground; visiting playgrounds throughout Southern California to find the best fit for the beloved park nestled between established neighborhoods.  The contract was ultimately awarded to Playworld Stations.

The new playground, designed for children of all ages and abilities, will feature a slide with rollers to add zing, a climbing dome for kids of all ages, and a reinforced swing set.  Construction of the new playground began in May 2014.

Source: City of Monrovia press release

- Brad Haugaard

Battle Creek Show to be Filmed in Monrovia


Crews are setting up in Monrovia Canyon Park for filming on a new show called Battle Creek. A summary of the show at IMDB: http://goo.gl/n2zV70

- Brad Haugaard

Magnolia Reopens | Suicide at Monrovia Hotel?

~ Magnolia Avenue is now open through to Duarte Road. http://goo.gl/mtJcZR

~ Possible suicide by falling at Monrovia Marriott hotel. http://goo.gl/oYMjhS

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police Search for Man in Sex Case

Monrovia Police looking for man in sexual battery case. http://goo.gl/In9sOS

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Schools: Rosier Budget; Local Control

At its Wednesday, July 23 meeting (agenda: http://goo.gl/iD9L5W ) the Monrovia School Board will consider ...

~ Approving a revised budget, which looks a bit rosier than before. Director of Fiscal Services, David Conway, reports that "District revenues for 2013-14 came in higher than anticipated." http://goo.gl/hEvb5B

~ Modifications to a 72-page "Local Control Accountability Plan" at the request of the LA County Superintendent of Schools. Opinion: There is something a bit bizarre about school districts having to submit 72-page documents to a higher authority in the name of "local control." http://goo.gl/MnKnqR

- Brad Haugaard

Lunch at Burger Basket


Lunch at Burger Basket, at the corner of Mayflower and Duarte Road. Got the fish and chips combo for $6.65 plus tax.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Pubs Host 'Crawl for a Cure'

Four Old Town pubs will host "Crawl for a Cure," a July 26 fundraising evening for the upcoming Relay for Life of Monrovia. All four hosts will be offering special pricing on menu items, and participants can win "Relay Swag" at each stop.

Registration and wristbands for a $30 donation will be available at the first stop. Crawlers are invited to wear purple to show their support of Relay for Life.

The pub crawl will begin at 4 p.m. at Sena, 409 S. Myrtle Ave., then proceed to London Gastropub, 419 S. Myrtle Ave., and T. Phillips Ale House, 601 S. Myrtle Ave. The evening will end at Gem City Grill, 115 E. Olive Ave. For more information, contact Michele Metcalf, (626) 241-3506, or Mike Laban, (626) 627-5230.

The Monrovia Relay for Life benefiting the American Cancer Society will be held from 9 a.m. Saturday, August 16, to 9 a.m. Sunday, August 17, at Recreation Park, 500 S. Shamrock Ave. For details and team sponsorship and signup forms, visit relayforlife.org/monroviaca.

- Brad Haugaard

'No Reportable Action' On Opening of Monrovia Hillside Preserve

I've been tracking the city's progress in opening to the public the Hillside Preserve ( http://goo.gl/BqEbdI ) and more recently the Cloverleaf access point to the preserve. The preserve was bought in large part by a bond issue paid for by the residents of Monrovia with the promise that they would have access to the area. Now, more than 14 years later, it is not fully open. In April there was a report ( http://goo.gl/gd39xf ) that the Cloverleaf access point might be opened in July. Since it is now well into July I thought I'd ask about it. Here is what I got back:
Good afternoon Mr. Baugaard,
Thank you for reaching out to me and I appreciate your community support.  City staff continues to work on the future opening of the Cloverleaf access point in the Hillside Wilderness Preserve.  There is no reportable action or proposed opening date at this time, but I would be happy to notify you when a firm date is set.
Thank you,

Tina Cherry
Community Services Director
City of Monrovia

- Brad Haugaard

Real Estate Agent Helps Monrovia Men

Real estate agent helps "low-functioning" Monrovia men find housing. Looking for work for them, too. http://goo.gl/rjCewG

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police: Making Fake Credit Cards; Runaway; Meth and More

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for July 14-16. - Brad Haugaard]

During the last seven-day period, the Police Department handled 383 service events, resulting in 52 investigations.

Grand Theft
On July 14 at 2:01 p.m., a grand theft in the 700 block of West Huntington Drive was reported to police. Construction is being done on the street and at the end of the work week last week, the construction crew covered the open trenches with two steel plates. When they arrived at work the next week, the plates were gone. Each sheet is 4 feet by 8 feet and they are worth $1000 each. The investigation is continuing.

Juvenile Problem
On July 15 at 8:40 p.m., officers responded to a home in the 400 block of Royal Oaks to look for a female juvenile who had run away from the residence. A description was obtained and the female was located a few blocks away. Officers counseled the juvenile, returned her to her residence and spoke with the parent. Approximately three hours later, the parent phoned police, reporting she and the juvenile had argued and the juvenile had left the residence again. Officers again located the juvenile, and after speaking with her, determined she needed to be held for mental evaluation. She was taken to a hospital, where she was held for observation and treatment.

Possession of a Controlled Substance – Suspects Arrested
July 16 at 3:50 p.m., officers responded to a residence in the 300 block of Beechworth regarding a suspicious male subject sleeping in a vehicle. When officers arrived, they saw a male subject lying in the backseat of a vehicle. The subject reached for a purse on the floor, as if he was attempting to conceal it. He told the officers the purse belonged to a female that was with him, but she was currently visiting a friend at one of the residences. The male subject was arrested on an outstanding warrant. A search of the purse revealed methamphetamine and pipes. While officers were dealing with the male subject, the female who owns the purse returned and approached the officers. She was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and an outstanding warrant.

Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance – Suspect Arrested
On July 16 at 7:52 p.m., officers responded to the report of suspicious subjects in a park located in the 400 block of North Grand. Officers arrived, located the subject and determined he was under the influence of a controlled substance. He was arrested and taken into custody.

Detective Bureau Case Follow-up - Grand Theft Auto – Felony Charges Filed
On July 12 at 7:19 p.m., Special Enforcement Team officers observed a suspicious vehicle and driver in the area of Encino and Huntington. They followed the vehicle until it drove into a driveway in the 1800 block of Encino. A check of the license plate revealed the vehicle was stolen. The officers approached the car and driver, but the driver ran inside the house at the location and hid. The suspect was eventually located and arrested. During the course of the investigation, another stolen vehicle was found at the location. Interviewing the residents revealed another suspect at the home, and both suspects were arrested. After follow-up by the Detective Bureau, the case was taken to the District Attorney and felony charges were filed.

Grand Theft / Forgery/ Receiving Stolen Property – Five Felony Counts Filed
On July 14 at 9:30 a.m., Monrovia Special Enforcement Team officers provided information about a subject with a no-bail warrant for his arrest to the San Gabriel Valley Anti-Crime Task Force, which has an officer from Monrovia Police Department assigned to it. The task force tracked the wanted subject to a location in Pasadena. During the contact with the wanted subject, he was found to be in possession of credit card blanks and stolen credit card numbers. A second room at a different location was determined to be involved, so Monrovia Police Department Forgery/ Fraud Detectives responded and searched the room. A credit card embossing machine was also found. After questioning, it was determined the suspect had been making fake credit/gift cards using illegally obtained account numbers.

The suspect was arrested and booked. The case was presented to the District Attorney’s office and five felony counts were filed. It was the great collaborative work by task force members, Special Enforcement Team members, and detectives that brought about this successful apprehension, arrest and filing.

State of Monrovia Football

A look at the state of Monrovia football. QB Asaph Zamora "has been brilliant." http://goo.gl/5UI7Sn

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Church Distributing School Supplies

First Presbyterian Church of Monrovia is collecting school supplies for its 14th annual school supply distribution in August. The church will be distributing everything from backpacks to boxer shorts.

- Brad Haugaard

New Leaders at Monrovia Companies

~ The board of Monrovia's Everlert, Inc. has appointed Darin Shaw as Chief Executive Officer and President of the Board of Directors. Shaw previously held the position of in-house legal counsel of the company's subsidiary, Totalpost Services, Inc. The company provides ink cartridges in the U.S. postage meter industry. http://goo.gl/zXMknD

~ Monrovia's Xencor, Inc. has appointed Kurt Gustafson to its board of directors. Currently, Gustafson serves as executive vice president, chief financial officer and principal accounting officer at Spectrum Pharmaceuticals. Xencor is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing engineered monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, asthma and allergic diseases, and cancer. http://goo.gl/hJKUQF

- Brad Haugaard